November 21, 2010

The Future of TV - the death of linear TV?

This week's Click on BBC News had an interesting piece on the future of TV. No mention of Virgin, Sky or TiVo but more about the rapidly expanding alternatives such as Apple TV, Google TV and the high-end games consoles. I also found this Bloomberg story on how cable companies in the US are having to adapt to the challenges of alternative TV availability and the recession by offering lower cost bundles of channels. Interesting.
Mind you, Wired Magazine was suggesting a similar revolution in 2003 and is still talking about it in 2010.
Are the days of linear services on Sky and VM numbered? Will the future be, sports excepted, all On Demand? Who's best placed to benefit, Sky with its programming or Virgin with its broadband superiority? Discuss...

3 comments:

blizard said...

well VM and Sky are nearly there, give or take 10 years. Sky has already got sky player and virgin media are soon launching there virgin player. Sky player is available on the xbox, windows media center, iphone, ipad etc. This just goes to show that things are changing. Sky player already streams around 15 channels live. I don't see why VM won't do it. I can watch all the freeview channels through Tvcatchup.com ... on bbc iplayer you can watch bbc1 live aswell as other channels. I think if the UK had a faster more reliable internet infrastructure then i don't see why not linear channels will be opted out and internet TV in. JUST A MATTER OF TIME...

Harkaway said...

I think the real thing is the extent to which the internet will interface with the tv. Almost all larger sets now have a place to plug in a home network and some now even have wifi. I watch youtube not online, but through my tv courtesy of my WDTV Live media player, which also allow me to stream content wirelessly from my computer and external hard drives. There are also channels you can obtain through RSS feeds like HDNation or Archive Classic Movies. In the US WDTV Live Plus allows you to stream Hulu and Netflix (which you pay for). And you can look at a nice HD screen. The television is evolving, but like most things, it won't happen overnight.

Moroboshi said...

The trouble is, some of the big content providers are also platform holders, meaning they have a vested interest in keeping their legacy linear platforms alive. They won't want to give up control to Apple, Microsoft and the rest without a fight.

There's also the problem of internet speeds, which for most are still way too low to provide reliable, high quality HD streaming. Then when you add download caps into the mix, it just isn't a pretty picture.

Apple's Steve Jobs said that the TV market is a very tough one to crack, and I don't think anyone is going to be able to do it for many years to come. Sadly, I think we'll be stuck with clunky old PVRs for another decade at least.